Dealer Testimonial: 'K&M Tire Cares' - Tire Review Magazine

Dealer Testimonial: ‘K&M Tire Cares’

Sponsored by K&M Tire

For more than 40 years, Wholesale Tire Company in Warren, Ohio, has had the goal of serving the people of its community, whether it’s through tire service or community support. The family-owned and operated shop founded in 1972 by Jim Handel, prides itself on offering quick repairs, fair prices and efficient communication from the time customers walk in the door…but they’re known for more than that.

We caught up with Michael Handel, store manager, at the 2023 K&M Tire Dealer Conference & Trade Show to learn more about his family’s business and how he sees their relationship with K&M Tire as a competitive advantage.

TR: Tell me how you got started in the tire business.

MH: Like most people, I was kind of just born into it. My father opened the store in 1972. I started working there when I was a kid, partly because my mom wanted to get me out of the house on Saturdays. So, I went to work with dad, first off playing trains and stuff in his office. Then, I told him I was bored one day, and he said to sweep the shop floor. So, ever since then, I’ve been hooked. This is an industry that once you’re in it, you don’t get out.

TR: Very true. So, you worked your way up from there?

MH: Yes, I swept the floors, changed tires and did tire sales, and now I do everything really.

TR: What types of tires do you sell and what types of service do you do?

MH: We currently work at two bays and then one outside, which is nice because we do a lot of bigger trucks that wouldn’t fit in most shops. As far as brands go, the nice thing my dad set up years ago is we sell whatever the customer wants—whatever the best fit is for the customer, which is nice. We’re able to fit the customer with the best tire that we feel is the right one for them.

We just do passenger light truck tires, which is way easier. We also do tires and a little service, like very light brake work if the customer needs it, which is unique from what I understand. We stay way too busy with just doing tires to even try to consider doing other stuff at this point. Maybe we’ll expand in the future.

TR: In your business today what would you say is one opportunity and one challenge you see for dealers in the industry?

MH: At this moment, the biggest challenge is employees. It’s very difficult to find people that want to come to work. Years ago, we always had sell somebody on the idea that we pay them

overtime, but it seems in today’s world that people don’t want overtime. They want to work 40 or less, which is fine, and we adjust schedules. It works, but we also need to find people to fill those [full-time] positions.

As far as opportunities, I really think that with K&M coming to us as often as they do it allows me to reduce my inventory. They’re coming so often that I don’t need to stock 12 SKUs of this or that tire because they’re coming in the morning and the afternoon. Because of this, I don’t necessarily need to have the cash tied up in inventory, which allows us to use it elsewhere.

TR: Having a good partner is an opportunity in this industry. K&M dealers are really involved in their communities. Tell me about one way your family’s business gives back to the community.

MH: Well since 1972, we’ve been in downtown Warren, which unfortunately has been on a slight decline. But, helping the community as far as different sporting events…we try to sponsor the little league soccer every year to help give the kids a soccer ball that their parents may not be able to afford as well as other things.

TR: You mentioned your relationship with K&M Tire. Describe your businesses relationship with K&M, your history with them and what makes them a good partner.

MH: I think what makes them a good partner is that they actually care. So if there’s a problem, they’re willing to fix it. They’re not just lip service. There have been multiple times over the 20 years that we’ve been with K&M that a salesman got in a car and drove the tire that we needed three hours to us. They definitely lost money selling that tire to me, but they made it right and they did what they needed to do.

This content is sponsored by K&M Tire.

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